Act 137 of 1992

Update on the Implementation of Pennsylvania's County Trust Fund Legislation

The purpose of this survey and report, Update on the Implementation of Pennsylvania's County Housing Trust Fund Legislation (2005), is to assess the implementation and effective management of counties using Act 137's provisions in producing more affordable housing in their communities. Act 137, which was passed by the Pennsylvania State Legislature in 1992, permits 66 of the state's 67 counties (excluding Philadelphia) to raise additional revenues to be used for affordable housing needs by increasing fees for recording mortgages and deeds. The authorizing legislation [SB 962: Act 1992-137] requires that these additional funds be expended for "any program or project approved by the county commissioners which increases the availability of quality housing, either sales or rental, to any county resident whose annual income is less than the median income of the county."

Since 1995, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) has monitored the implementation of Act 137. Although PHFA is not required to collect this information, we strongly believe the findings are of vital public interest and consequently should be shared with the state's policy makers, housing advocates, and citizens.

Act 137 is an invaluable tool that local governments can easily use to create or leverage housing resources to enhance their ability to meet the affordable housing needs of their residents. Since the Act's passage in 1992, more than half of Pennsylvania's 67 counties altogether have raised more than $125,000,000 for affordable housing related programs in their communities. Those programs have ranged from senior citizen housing to owner-occupied rehabilitation work to providing financial assistance for developing rental housing.